Friday, July 14, 2006

16 Do's and Don'ts For Authors

1) Do: Make your delivery dates.

2) Do: thank your editor/publisher/agent/publicist when they do a good job.

3) Do: Act like a professional (be on time to meetings, dress accordingly when in your publisher's offices, don't publicly bash your publisher/editor/agent/publicist).

4) Don't: Publicly criticize reviewers for bad reviews (all that will happen is that your next book will be ignored and you'll hurt your publicist's relationships).

5) Do: Respond in a timely manner when your publisher needs a response on an issue (opinion on cover concepts, author photo, copyedited/first pass pages, etc...). They have a schedule, and the more unnecessary time you take the less time they have to double and triple check things and explore all promotional avenues.

6) Don't: Go over your editor's head and complain to the publisher. EVER. Not only is this unprofessional, but it's the publishing equivalent of being an immature tattle tale. Your editor is your best friend, and the last person you want to lose support from.

7) Do: Make sure your agent handles all money and contract issues. If you have a question about your contract or payments, it should always go through your agent.

8) Do: Make sure your agent does more than just handle negotiations and then disappear into a puff of smoke. A good agent can help devise marketing plans, offer valuable thoughts on the cover and package, and even explore other avenues for you to showcase your work.

9) Do: Make available the 2 weeks before and after publication for any publicity your publisher might want you to do. Especially important if you have another full time job.

10) Don't: Complain to any employee of your publishing house about another employee (i.e. don't tell your copyeditor that you think your publicist is worthless). Needless to say, you're not exactly talking in confidence, and their loyalties are always to their colleagues they work with every day, not an author who insults their friends.

11) Do: Understand that your editor and agent have lives too. Unless your delivery date calls for it, don't send your editor your manuscript on December 24th and ask for it back by January 1st.

12) Do: Make your editor aware of your concerns if you feel you're being treated unfairly. If after that you still feel things aren't going well, bring your agent into the equation. Better they play the bad cop than you.

13) Do: Make sure, if you hire an outside publicist, he/she works with your in-house publicist. No sense paying someone to cover the same ground twice.

14) Do: Thank your editor, agent and publicist if your book does well, wins an award, or hits a bestseller list. Flowers and candy are always appreciated. Every Christmas, David Morrell sent everyone who worked on his book a gigantic tub of flavored popcorn that lasted for months. But that red cinnamon popcorn was pretty nasty...

15) Do: Ask your editor to set up a meeting for you to meet the publisher's sales reps and marketing team. They do a much better job if they personally know the author whose book they're trying to sell.

16) Don't: Refuse a publicity opportunity without a damn good reason ("I'm too hungover to do that radio interview" won't cut it).

Oh, and a good man is hard to find...if you're in jail.

10 Comments:

Blogger Manic Mom said...

Good list. I hope to be able to follow these rules someday.

11:34 AM  
Blogger JT Ellison said...

Great list, Jason. It's these little insights that make your blogs so fascinating!

12:57 PM  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

That is a great list Jason!

9:05 PM  
Blogger Allison Brennan said...

Great advice. I need to remember the thank yous.

Sandra!!! I love your new picture avatar.

10:35 PM  
Blogger M.J. said...

Great list! Every single point.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Bill Cameron said...

Excellent list. Thank you, Jason!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Vicki Pettersson said...

Okay, here's a question: When, if ever, should an author fly to NY to meet their editor, sales reps, publicists, agent, etc.?

6:17 PM  
Blogger S. W. Vaughn said...

Thankee-sai. Good advice; quite humanitarian-like. :-) "Be nice and considerate" should be on the top of the list for everything you do, and that extends to your publisher-editor-agent.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Vicki -

This is a question you should raise with your editor. Publishers obviously like to maximize the money they spend, and are sometimes hesitant to fly authors without getting publicity benefits from it.

But that said, they'll definitely want to meet you. You should discuss this with your editor, find out if there are any sales meetings or conferences they'd want you for, and what would be the best timing to do so. If you coordinate with them you'll find out both when you should come in, and when you'd have the best chance of them footing the bill.

:-)

11:44 AM  
Blogger Vicki Pettersson said...

Thank you, Jason!

7:58 PM  

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